TheDirty Defeats Privacy Invasion Lawsuit–Dyer v. Dirty World

By Eric Goldman

Dyer v. Dirty World LLC, 2011 WL 2173900 (D. Ariz. June 2, 2011). The summary judgment motion, Dyer’s opposition and thedirty’s reply.

An ex-boyfriend submitted to thedirty.com 2 photos of Dyer in a bikini and a comment that Dyer gave him and a buddy an STD. Nik of thedirty posted, in response to his standard “Would You?” question, “No it looks like she just had a baby, and if a girl is willing to take 2 guys on then I suggest you use a rubber.” Dyer sued thedirty for public disclosure of private facts and false light. For reasons that aren’t explained, Dyer didn’t sue for copyright infringement for the republished photos (although I vaguely remember these may be self-portraits) or defamation (even though the complaint repeatedly alleges that the statements are false); nor does it seem that she sued the ex-boyfriend either.

Another oddity: the final posting on thedirty had three disparate information pieces–the photos, the submitted comments, and Nik’s comments–but the court appears only to evaluate Nik’s comments, which are characteristically acerbic but comparatively innocuous. Nik only advanced two statements: an opinion about Dyer’s looks and a recommendation for safe sex practices when engaging multiple sex partners. As a result, the court says that Nik didn’t make any statements of fact. The court concludes “the Court finds that the general tenor of Defendant’s website makes clear that the two statements at issue represent Mr. Ritchie’s personal viewpoint, rather than an assertion of fact.”

However, the court doesn’t explain why it effectively ignores thedirty’s republication of the photos and the submitted comments. In FN2, the court says it’s not relying on 47 USC 230, but if that were really true, it seems that the court should have considered all three information pieces, not just Nik’s own words. So it appears that this is a 47 USC 230 case where the court denies it’s relying on 47 USC 230.

Prior coverage of a different thedirty case: “thedirty.com’s 47 USC 230 Defense Rejected on Motion to Dismiss–Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment”

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